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Jerry Cutler On Theatre—Janis Joplin Fans Will Want To Spend An Evening With Her At The Pasadena Playhouse

Mary Bridget Davies and Company. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015 – 2:28 PM

If you are a fan of Janis Joplin and want to spend an evening with her and some incredibly talented singers and musicians; do not hesitate to visit The Pasadena Playhouse before Aug. 23.

A Night With Janis Joplin is a musical written and directed by Randy Johnson whose extraordinary vision gave birth to this outstanding show.

I saw a sensational Mary Bridget Davies (who plays the role Tuesday through Friday, Saturday night and the Sunday matinee) as the iconic Joplin. (Kacee Clanton performs the role for Saturday matinees and Sunday evenings).

The musical features some of the most talented women you will ever see. Starring as the Joplinaires, who blend in beautifully backing up Joplin, are Sharon Catherine Brown, Yvette Cason, Sylvia MacCalla and Jenelle Lynn Randall— all of whom emulate such stars as Etta James, Odetta, Bessie Smith, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and The Chantels. The voices are heavenly and the band, conducted by Tyler Evans, heaven sent.

But, the show belongs to Davies who anchors the evening and does a terrific job enhancing Johnson’s excellent staging. If there is a fault to be found, it most assuredly is not on stage as each performer is perfect.

However, I felt overwhelmed by the presentation and wanted to savor it in its entirety. That proved to be difficult as I found it to be a bit too long. Had Johnson limited his production to 90 minutes without an intermission, I think the effect would have been mind boggling and left the packed audience wanting to see and hear more as there was sufficient material for two fantastic shows.

As it is, it reverberates throughout the Playhouse and gives the paying customers their money’s worth – and more.

3-1/2 bagels out of 4

A Night With Janis Joplin—Through Saturday, Aug. 23, 8 p.m. Tuesday- Friday; 4 and 8 p.m., Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m., Sundays at The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 El Molino Ave. Tickets: $45-$150. Information: 626-356-7529, PasadenaPlayhouse.org

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